5 things we’ll want to forget about Goafest

08 Apr,2013

The controversies didn't seem to dampen spirits at the raindance at Goafest 2013. Photograph by Shailesh Mule/Fotocorp


By Pradyuman Maheshwari


Every Goafest has its share of controversies, and this year’s was no better. Or worser, pardon the use of the word. Now that the event has concluded, here’s a list of the five controversies about the Creative Abby that we’ll want to forget soonest. However, it may make sense for the Awards Governing Council to take measures to avoid an encore.


#1 Big O Missing

At first it was Ogilvy not participating. The folks have been maxing all these years, and have been producing outstanding work. A Creative Abby without Ogilvy is, as Anil Thakraney writes in Hard Knocks, like the World Cup Cricket without Australia and England.


Well, we didn’t see Ogilvy get back and all the pleading from the Goafest folks couldn’t get them to reverse their decision.


The result: a Creative Abby minus Ogilvy. That didn’t see Lowe get back as it stuck to its stand of boycotting the adfest.


Leo Burnett has been winning a fair bit over the years, and it wasn’t much of a surprise that it won the maximum metals, even though none of them were a Grand Prix.


#2 Scams – JWT withdraws Ford Figo

Ford’s controversial, gender-inappropriate advertising cost CCO and Managing Partner Bobby Pawar his job a few weeks back. At first it appeared that the ad was just uploaded on ad showcase site adsoftheworld.com.


But, as it emerged, that the creatives were also entered at Goafest and as is the requirement of the Abby, the ads should have been carried in media and must be entered with the clearance of the client. The Ford Motor Company took this very seriously and an as-yet-unnamed marketing department employee who cleared the ad lost his/her job.


#3 Inner Circle member quits

Much celebrated independent ad agency honcho Sajan Raj Kurup publicy quit the Goafest Awards Governing Council (AGC) and had CreativeLand Asia opt out of the awards. His rationale: “Personally, to me it just doesn’t feel right deep inside my heart to be associated with awards in any way in our country.” His letter to the AGC is reported to have said: “I have decided, with the support of my organisation, not to return to awards in this country till we take up the issues on scams seriously and take stringent steps against these.”


Ahem. Kurup’s resignation was accepted, but his agency’s pullout wasn’t. CreativeLand Asia had 3 silvers and 4 bronzes to its credit.


#4 Radio ga-ga

Should similar entries of a campaign in a certain category be clubbed together for a metal or should these be put in separately. At the Creative Abby, many juries decide to club them together – esp if there are different renderings of a certain creative idea or theme. But in the collective wisdom of the radio jury, the various entries were retained as separate ones… ensuring the numbers of entries received by certain agencies leapfrogged. Not everyone was amused by this on awards night, but we’ve been told that we shouldn’t read too much into it.


#5 When the client said it didn’t pay for the award

Although the Creative Abby is a celebration of creativity, the awards are meant only for ads that have been published/aired/put up somewhere. After the shortlists are done, the auditor contacts each and every client to ascertain whether the ad shortlisted was indeed entered by it. Pretty sound procedure this.


Now in the process this year, a certain company from one of the most trusted business conglomerates in the country told the auditor that it hadn’t paid for the entries and the agency did it for the sake of awards. This was enough reason for the authorities to say ta ta to the entries, but soon enough a communication was received from the client saying that it had indeed released the award.


Evidently someone from amongst the ‘authorities’ went to the client asking him/her to send in the clarification. Since we don’t have anyone on record, we wouldn’t name names, but suffice to say that there was some sound-and-fury and lobbying over these developments.


The episode doubtless left some aftertaste, making a wag remark: Namak mein kuch kaala hai! Or should it be dal mein…

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